A restaurant manager’s #1 priority is the safety and satisfaction of his/her customers and employees. This means that you must keep your restaurant pest-free, as much as possible.
A pest invasion not only creates a financial problem, but it could mean troubles and penalties with the administration’s Bureau of Food and Drug Administration. The best way to avoid a business-crushing pest control issue and to keep your customers coming is to have a plan of action at the ready.
The best strategy to keep your business running smoothly and the consumers safe and happy is prevention.
Here are seven (7) of the most essential pest management tips to avoid or put a stop to a pest problem in your restaurant.
1. Clean and Pristine is the Key
To control the pest problem inside your restaurant, it is important to keep your restaurant clean. The dining area should be cleaned daily and any food residue should be removed. This also extends to food prep and cleaning stations. Additionally, no food should be left standing in the kitchen, food prep, or open in storage areas.
Trash cans and bins should have liners and a tight-fitting top. These receptacles should be emptied daily to remove any possible pest hot spots from your property. Floor drains can also be an issue if not cleaned properly.
2. Be Vigilant of your Problem Areas
Pests can invade from just about anywhere, but the best way to combat a problem is to notice where they are living or coming from. Depending on the type of creature, their safe haven can be a number of different places. Insects are drawn to the warmth of lighting, so it is best to be careful about where you place your lighting, especially if you have an outdoor dining area.
Additionally, dumpsters are like a smorgasbord for pests like mice, rats, or wildlife. They should be located away from the building and be shut tight to avoid any scavenging.
Of course, pests don’t have to be attracted to lighting or your trash; they could just mosey through the front door. Any opening can be a problem: windows, doors, vents, etc. Be sure the gaps are sealed, floors are clean, and all entryways are closed when not being used.
3. Know Thy Enemy
If you discover you have a pest problem, the first step you should take is to identify the culprit. Your plan is dependent on the type of infestation. A rodent problem can be dangerous. Not only do customers experience repulsion, but they can contract diseases like Salmonella, Listeria, or E. Coli. Rodent droppings can be hazardous and they can do major damage to your property.
Insects like cockroaches and flies can spread diseases, contaminate food, and create major problems as well. Once you identify your pest problem, you can take the steps to fix it. Keep in mind, not all pests will be caught red-handed.
4. Survey the Damage
If you do discover a pest problem, do not waste time hesitating. Act quickly; a pest problem in the foodservice industry can mean ruin should the health department find out before you do. What kind of pest problem do you have? How large is it? Determine the size of the problem, contact a pest control specialist, and remove all contaminated food. You can’t be too careful when handling pest problems.
5. Monitor your Storage Areas
As a restaurant purveyor, it is imperative to check and clean your storage regularly. Routinely inspect your storage bins and throw out anything past the expiration date. Old or poorly kept food can attract all manner of insects, such as beetles, weevils, moths, and mites.
The storage area is also a breeding ground for bacteria, especially near refrigeration units. Anything that may be infested could risk cross-contamination with good food in your storage. Be vigilant and check your storage often.
It isn’t enough just to check these problem areas once or twice a year. Pest management can get out of hand very quickly. The best action is preventative action. Make it a point to check the problem areas to see what needs updating and to be sure everything is clean. Additionally, you want to be sure everything is up to code in case of a surprise inspection.
If you’ve had previous infestations, come back to those areas more frequently to ensure that the problem has been taken care of.
6. Build and Develop a Plan of Action
Depending on the infestation, have a plan of action to respond in an efficient manner. Remove all contaminated food and sanitize affected areas. If pesticides are needed, be sure to follow the rules and regulations. Have a trained official handle the poisonous materials and keep them away from any area that may be near where the food is kept. If needed, contact a pest control specialist to handle the matter. It is best to deal with pest complaints and reports quickly.
7. Abide by the Food Hygiene Law
If you are following the Food Hygiene laws, you should be able to avoid an infestation. Keep up with regulations involving food safety and take preventative measures against cross-contamination. Essentially, keep areas clean, monitor all activity, and be sure all employees are properly trained on food storage and safety.
The best defense against a pest problem is prevention and knowledge. Keep up to date on the most recent rules and regulations set by the Bureau of Food and Drug Administration. Food law requires that businesses follow the Food Hygiene principles to ensure the people are safe. Make sure everything is clean and up to code, especially when handling any food and storage.
Above all else, remain vigilant protecting your establishment. Follow these tips and you can keep your business safe, clean, and running pest free.
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